Daily Lesson for Wednesday 20th of December 2023
Read Esther 4:1-14. Why was it considered at this moment appropriate for Esther to identify herself as a Jew?
When Mordecai contacted Esther for her help, she had been married to Ahasuerus for several years, but there was a law in Persia that no one could come to the king’s throne without an express invitation from the king. Anyone who didn’t respect this rule risked death. Esther, knowing the risk, went to the throne room anyway, uninvited.
Mordecai’s faith sought to awaken Esther’s faith. The heart of the book of Esther is found in Mordecai’s words to Esther: “And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: ‘Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ ” (Esther 4:13-14, NKJV).
Esther’s faith was put to the test as Mordecai appealed to her love for her people. No one knew she was Jewish except Mordecai, and once she made the decision to become involved, she did not hesitate to put her life on the line.
Her faith in God was strong, and she knew that without God’s help she could not succeed. Her answer to Mordecai revealed her faith: “ ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish’ ” (Esther 4:16, NIV). Mordecai sent this information to the entire Jewish community in Shushan (Susa), and while they fasted and prayed, Esther prepared herself for the dangerous moment. “On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter” (Esther 5:1-2, NIV).
For the Jews in such a situation as described above, prayer would certainly accompany fasting. That is, though they acted in their own behalf, prayer was central to their response. What obvious lesson can we take from this?